Someone had to say it and former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush said it quite well. They have rejected talk show hosts’ attempt to politicize the earthquake in Haiti.
Bush and Clinton were asked on CNN about the statements such as that of conservative talk-show host Rush Limbaugh, who said that Obama will see Haiti as an opportunity to boost his credibility with the “light-skinned and dark-skinned black community in this country,” and who told listeners “you already give to Haitian relief; it’s called the income tax.” Host John King also brought up, without naming the MSNBC host, Keith Olbermann putting up a picture of the quake devastation and saying, “We are reminded of what healthcare reform really means.”
The pair, who appeared on CNN, “Fox News Sunday,” ABC’s “This Week,” NBC’s “Meet the Press” and CBS’ “Face the Nation,” agreed that politics should be left out of the relief effort.
“When people see us together — look, they know we have a lot of differences even though we’re friends,” Clinton said. “The only political thing I hope that comes out of this is that people keep their differences of conviction, but they treat their neighbors as friends.
“We don’t want to contribute to this political debate right now.”
Bush, who said that his mother refers to Clinton as his “step-brother,” concurred that their mission was simply helping the relief efforts.
Simply — and well — put: there is a time when you put the agendas aside and don’t personally detest other people because they have a different agenda.
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.